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He's Coming; But When Will He Be Back?

Outside of the Devils games, the big story on Chere's and Gulitti's blogs has been the return of Martin Brodeur to the ice.  While it's not in full, official practices, he's seeing shots and that's big. In fact, Gulitti has brought back what could be the target date for Martin Brodeur:

February 26.

Now, it could be delayed by a few games, and he's still has some way to go according to Sutter in Gulitti's post about today's practice.  But if he keeps making steady progress, coming back before the trade deadline . Incidentally, the 26th would be the night the Devils host the Colorado Avalanche.  If not then, there's 3 games before that March 4th date he could get in: February 28 against Florida, March 1 against Philadelphia, and March 3 at Toronto. However, I'm a little concerned with this quote:

"I don't know what the plan is, but I never expected to play one game and sit one game," he said. "I'm going to want to play a lot just to get back. The playoffs are coming up. They're going to be really soon when I get back, so I've got to get to the position where I'm able to play as good as I can. That's no different than training camp when I come in. I started this season with 10 games in a row. I know it's in the middle of the season and it's a different level, but right now I'm at a lot different level then when I come in for training camp also as far as conditioning."

Now, don't get me wrong. If Marty says he can play, well, he should be playing.  I've always felt that. Telling your future Hall of Famer to sit a bit doesn't sound like a move that wins hockey games.

But the situation is a different.  He's coming off an injury and, obviously, hasn't played since October.  He may need the extra rest to ease back into being the legendary goaltender for New Jersey. Even if he doesn't get into games until March, it's a busy schedule with the month starting on the second half of a two-game set at home and 13 additional games in the remaining 30 days.  While there are a few breaks in the schedule, it also includes 3 back to back sets.  By then, Marty should be back to being Marty.  Still, that's a lot of minutes that Brodeur doesn't need to assume responsibility for right away.   

My point is that I don't think Brodeur has to rush anything.  I hope he doesn't feel he has to.  The facts show that he doesn't. The Devils have shown they can play well enough.  And given the current standings, as the end of the month rolls around, they may only need Brodeur to keep up the pace rather than to have him step it up. 

Then we will be wondering whether the trade Lou made has been paying dividends and whether the Devils moved the right goalkeeper. (SELF PROMOTION ASIDE: HEY! That's a subject related to today's Devils Roundtable! Read it today and even tomorrow too!)